tv Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer Current June 1, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
>> eliot: a print to the finish line in wisconsin with the recall election next tuesday rapidly approaching democratic challenger tom barrett came out swinging in the final gubernatorial debate last night repeatedly attacking the incumbent scott walker in a last effort to convince voters to remove him from office. >> he's become the rock star of the far right. he's traveled around the country making these speeches and raising millions of dollars. one of the ten commandments of the far right is you have to be against unions. i have a police department that arrests felons. he has a practice of hiring them. you're the only govern in this country that has a criminal defense fund and you owe it to the people of the state to tell them who is paying your criminal defense fees. >> he's running a commercial right now that shows a dead baby. he shows a picture of a dead baby. i mean, this is willie horton
stuff. >> eliot: civility not the hallmark of that debate. bolstering the final democratic onslaught on walker was bill clinton who appeared in a rally in milwaukee today. recent polls are returning inconsistent results from barrett trailing by seven points to others showing a neck and neck race. we have g senator chris larson and graham zielinksi joining us now. senator, what can be done to be sure that the democratic party and the recall selection are successful. >> there are a lot of electricity throughout the state as people are getting charged and getting out to the polls. we have early voting that ends today in wisconsin. every time i pass by the
municipal building there is a line going out on the street of people going in and vote and being counted in this election. we didn't see that two years ago when the regular election was going on. turnout is the big factor here. i would say that's why people are knocking on doors and talking to people who may not have voted two years ago but are going to vote this tuesday. that's what it's going to come down to. there is a lot of electricity energy, and it's a matter of getting your friends out to vote and we're seeing that. we have seen the results here with bill clinton, people are excited about this. >> graham, let me ask you a tactical question. who does good turn-out out. there is often a believe that there is big turn out help for the incumbent or the challenger, who is going to benefit from the big turn out. >> i think it's the party of the people. we had a big turnout for obama
by 15 points. there was a big drop off in 2010, and we're trying to get that drop off back to the polls. mother than 2 million who signed the signature represented people who did not vote in 2010. that's another group we want to get back. we want more people to go to the polls. we believe when more people go to the polls with this governor, this extremist governor who has done everything from kill jobs and start criminal defense funds, scott walker has ruled the air with $30 million in corporate cash. we're going to rule the ground. we have a superior ground game that we think will help us win this election. >> eliot: the whole notion that we believe in, which candidate it helps it's unclear to me, but the polls have not moved dramatically over the last couple of weeks. >> yes, they have. >> eliot: well, it depends on which polls you look at. let's not debate that. here is my question, what is the last closing argument that you
want voters to hear, the last message you want voters to hear? >> i think you have two separate visions of what you want vision vision to look like. where you rule by secrecy and dismantle institutions that have been here forever, or you get a guy who is not a rock star but focused on the middle class and working to preserving the institutions and making them better and who wakes up thinking how can i help a guy who does not have a job get a job or howe can i help a family who it putting kid through college. you have that in tom barrett but you don't have that in scott walker clearly. >> eliot: bill clinton is still the guy who gets the crowd electrifieder excited and goes back to a day where there were jobs and growth. this represents the fact that this is now a nationally important, very visible barometer of what people expect in november. does that help or hurt you? how do you play with the fact
that people are now looking at this. how do you make sense of that to local voters? >> he was in town to energize people and remind them this is not a weather event that we have no control over. we have the ability to impact it. that goes to talking to your neighbors, your family members and making sure they get to the polls. another thing that president clinton pointed out its about compromise and tom barrett is about compromising and making sure we can come together and bring the state together. he had a really good point at the rally today. he said look, if scott walker is one of the founding fathers we never would have founded this country. we never would have had a constitution because he has no ability to compromise. he does not bring people to the table. on the reverse, all that tom walker is able toscottwalker is able to compromise is the truth. the job numbers that he pulls
out of thin air and the fact that there are so many people who are seeing the cuts in education, the growing class sizes, they're trying to pretend that that's not going to be a factor in these final four days. so bill clinton brought attention to that. i think the state is waking up to that. >> eliot: the old maxim is that all politics are local. the jobs numbers that we saw come out this morning not a pretty picture. has wisconsin been able to weather that storm or has scott walker made it worse. >> it's been tough. when you take all the states and line them up from who has had the most job growth to who has had the least, scott walker in wisconsin is 50th out of 50 states. all the date that that is recognized by all 9 the states. while all the country has seen an economic recovery, and we've
seen job growth across the toronto, wisconsin is--across the country wisconsin is the only state that has gone into a deficit. our economy is way behind the rest of the country. way behind other midwestern states minnesota illinois, michigan are all doing better than wisconsin. so there is no trends that he can point at that says it's something that is not scott walker, his policies that are holding back wisconsin. >> eliot: am i right that the debate had a slightly different feel and tenor to it than prior encounters. there was an edgy to it, i have not seen the entirety of all of them but i was cringing knowing what it's like to sit around a round table. there were some pretty big uppercuts being thrown back and forth. >> i think that the problem is scott walker has evaded these questions for so long.
the press has not been able to get their arms around this slippery creature who has not answered the question, are you being criminally investigated. i think anybody can answer that question. why do you have a criminal defense fund? these are questions that any elected official should be able to answer. and scott walker has done a masterful job not answering the questions. it was an opportunity for the public to see him evade these questions. these are reasonable questions. and which by the way i don't know if scott walker was confident in his campaign would use an image of a dead child. that's extreme. in our history we have not had ads run like this by the candidate himself. it was a tough debate but it was clear that you had one candidate in tom barrett who answered questions yes or no, and then another candidate in scott
for the energy to keep you going. who wouldn't want to be a part of that? payday. the sweet taste of energy. >> eliot: coming up, president obama takes part in olympic games and not the kind you think. but first, new jobs numbers out today. the presidential election heating up so what's everybody talking about? donuts and soda. when it doesn't fit anywhere else, we put it in the viewfinder. >> it is national donut day and your administration has come out in support of national donut day. it sounds ridiculous. >> it does not sound ridiculous. >> let's hope that mayor bloomberg does not drive by
because we know he's trying to cut down on sugar in drinks. >> it's so good at the time but i knew i was going to pay for it, and i'm not having any more donuts. >> why are you having a donuts at a barbecue. >> 16-ounces. >> if you want 32 ounces the restaurant has to serve it in two glasses. that's not taking away your freedom. >> two sodas? how does this work? there are two straws. i only have one mouth. where do i stick the other one, bloomberg, you sick bastard. >> if you get rid of these giant sugar drinks and make people have smaller portions, it will help. >> the big gulp, and now the double gulp. i first i thought it was a hat like a fez. >> come on! this is america, the land of
plenty. we haven't even achieved type iii diabetes. we're so close. >> as a new yorker i can go on my lunch break to, i don't know, carnegie deli, and order 14 pounds of pastrami car initialed with seven pounds of beef tongue. then go over to hooters with chicken wings tossed in hot sauce and butter served with a bowl of cheese. god for bid i want to wash it down with a little something that is pure and refreshing as mountain do you. >> aremountain dew. >> are you kid meg? don't we have bigger issues to deal with than the side of drink someone buys? >> eliot: it is true. our hero coming up next, the computer virus. stay here.
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>> david: the government denies using them you but the obama administration is picking up with george b. bush left off. it marks the first time cyberweapons have been deployed to cripple another country's infrastructure through computer code. but despite an aggressive series of military triumphs for the president that began with the killing of osama bin laden last year his chief rival, mitt romney, argues that reelecting obama would result in iran having a nuclear weapon. romney continued his attacks on obama's foreign policy yesterday. >> as i look around the world i have to believe his positions in foreign policy have not communicated american strength and resolve. so grade f on foreign policiy
across the board. >> eliot: joining me now is ric grenell former spokesman for four united states ambassadors to the united united nations under president bush and who most recently served as foreign politically and national security spokesman for presidential candidate mitt romney. thanks for joining me. frankly, i see more continuity with president president bush who you served for many years and then a break. i see a discontinuity. does governor rom my disagree with the cyberattacks that we read about in the "new york times"? >> i think it's really important to have a little background here and that candidate obama clear was against a lot of these techniques. he was against enhanced interrogations, gitmo, attacks. what we're seeing is that the
white house has a duplicitous strategy and they want to tell the base that they're ending the war. but them want to selectively put out information that says we're not ending the war. i think hopefully i think the liberals are getting wind of the fact that they can't trust him. one group that absolutely realizes that they can't trust this president, and it's our allies. they're very confused as to what the strategy is if there is a strategy, but clearly the politics coming out of the white house is playing both sides. >> eliot: there is an an ulterior motive that helps the president's imagery being a war-time leader. i'll concede to you that some of the rhetoric were candidate obama would not have led one to believe that he still would have gitmo open or used drones so effectively and consistently or used an attack against iran.
but given the reality of what the president has done. he's close to what a mitt romney foreign policy would look like. as you point out, some of this is in line with what george w. bush was doing. >> i would disagree in the fact that the political people at the white house are just very good at seizing on different pieces of information. let me give you an example. so david sanger in "the new york times," the story that you're referring to i've worked closely with david for over a decade. i've actually been one of the anonymous sources that david uses in some of his stories in the past. sanger is a dramatic writer. he likes to dramatize and really push open theories that are not quite resolved yet. and i think with this particular story that's exactly what happened. if you read the details he said he has been working on this story for 18 months. but within those details you see that the people who have been
working on those cyberattacks. they're not political appointees. they're civil servants who are experts who have been through the bush administration. >> eliot: that's moi point. there should be more continuity than discontinuity in the foreign policy of president obama. i know this is campaign rhetoric but let me ask you the question of on the issue of drones to the extent we know president obama's use of drones, does governor romney disagree with the way that president obama has used drones to attack terrorist leadership? >> well, i think that's a question that i think is irrelevant in the fact that if you look at what the strategy is out of the white house, it's not helping. the strategy is very confusing and our allies don't know what to do. take for instance the u.n. the bush administration got five u.n. resolutions on iran because
they were very clear what we wanted to happen. our allies, russia and china did not like it but they would go along. you compare that with what this administration has done, play both sides pretending but not quite ending the war and our allies are confused. this administration has produced one resolution on iran. our allies don't know what to do. >> eliot: ric, look, nobody is going to believe we should measure the success of foreign policy by the number of u.n. resolutions we've gotten through. >> i give you that, so let's move on--to the issue after that. one more point. >> eliot: sure. >> if the u.n. is only one tool within the tool belt, it's important that the americans demonstrate leadership. and what this administration then did is give up on the u.n. and tried to say now we're going to build sanctions around the world. so we tried to put oil sanctions in on iran. however, if you look and see how many times we allowed our allies not to implement the sanctions.
you've got india, a ton of countries in europe, china, a whole bunch of countries not implementing sanctions. they're not working in the u.n. or outside of the u.n. >> eliot: you've been there in the trenches and i applaud you this implementing foreign policy and getter our nations' supposed allyies around is incredibly difficult. but they're imposing tighter restraints on iran than they have in the past. you have to concede that much. >> what i would say is we're trying different tactics with the sanctions, but the sanctions did not work in the burn administration or now. >> eliot: time runs short. last question, what would governor romney do differently with respect to drone attacks? >> you know, i haven't talked specifically with the governor about drone attacks, but i think what the governor absolutely understands is that you got to speak clearly, and you got to be consistent in your rhetoric.
you got to tell allyies and friends and others like pakistan that they have to be forthright and tell their people are they on one side or are they on the other. i think secretary clinton has done a much better job in being direct with the pakistanis, but this administration i would also give a failing grade is that they're playing both sides of the fence and our allies are very confused. >> eliot: ric grenell, i got to say you're a tougher grader than i have been. i've been the teacher of proffer. you're tough. i hope you come back. >> i'm consistently tough, governor. >> eliot: consistency is a good thing, sometimes i'm not so sure. ric grenell former foreign politically ambassador and national security spokesman for presidential candidate mitt romney. thank you for coming on the show tonight. >> any time. >> does mitt romney have any real ideas about foreign policy? more "viewpoint" coming up.
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>> eliot: coming up, our interview with zach wahls, an eagle scout and the son of two lesbian moms. he's trying to make boy scouts grow up and accept gay scout leaders. and at the top of the hour on "the war room"," they'll take a look at how obama complain is spinning it in their war room. more "viewpoint" next. if you have an opinion, you better back it up. >>eliot spitzer takes on politics. >>science and republicans do not mix. >>now it's your turn at the only online forum with a direct line
to eliot spitzer. >>join the debate now. >> david: the credit goes to the man in the arena, not to the critic. profound words from teddy roosevelt, and relevant because of the vapid and superficial critiques we're hearing from mitt romney every day without any sensible alternatives, proposals or ideas to move us forward. yesterday romney told cbs news that he'd give the president's first term an "f" in attorney policy really? an "f" a.m. obama eliminated osama bin laden. he decapitated the leadership of al-qaida, effectively used drone attacks, isolated major terrorist organizations and prevented any terrorist attacks on the u.s. soil. plus he navigated through the abandon spring with reasonable efficacy and created a principle
basis for leaving afghanistan. now we learn that obama mounted a continuing and successful cyberwar attack on iran, thwarting their nuclear ambitions. an "f" you say? romney is running for office. he's supposed to slam his opponent. but when has romney had a meaningful alternative on foreign policy or much of anything else. on the economy he only said he would do the opposite of what obama has done. a ridiculous mantra on foreign policy as it is on economics. romney is running as a candidate of no ideas. not even bad once. does he object to the use of drones? does he feel we shouldn't be pursuing a cyberwar strategy? does he think that the terrorist organizations are not weakened and a mere shadow of their former successful. the etch-a-sketch candidate has the nomination in hand. if he wants to be taken seriously in any conversation in foreign policy, it's time for him to show up with a game plan. that's my view.
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>> eliot: the boy scouts of america refuses to allow gays and lesbians to serve as troop leaders. but it is under mounting pressure to change. this week with the bsa was handed a petition with more than 275,000 names, supporting jennifer terrull a lesbian mother who was dropped as a cub scout den mother. among the presenters an extraordinary young man named zach wahls. the son of two lebanonance moms wahls made an i am passionate speech last year. here is what he had to say. >> i scored in the 99th per season tile in the act.
i'm actually an eagle scout. i own and operate my own small business. if i was your son, mr. chairman i believe i'd make you proud. not in once have i ever been con fronted by an individual who realized independently that i was raised by a gay couple. you know why? the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my market. >> it's my pleasure to bring on zach wahls an advocate for lbgt rights. the author of "my two moms," a lesson of love and strength. thank you for coming to the show show. >> thank you eliot. >> eliot: that speech that impassioned speech that you made that has been viral over a year ago, it was brilliant. where did it come from? how did you put if together? was that an outpouring of emotions that has been we
willing inside of you? >> thank you very much. that speech, the result of--it's funny, we only found out about the hearing three or four days before it was actually slated to take place. so i started writing it the saturday--it was a monday night. i started writing it saturday morning. then as i write in my two moms the book, it was something that i went through a bunch of different drafts before i settled on one that i liked. but when i got to the state house in des moines iowa, if you look at the notes in front of me compared to what came out of my mouth only 70% overlapped. there was emotion. i don't know about we willing up but the result of having to go through the challenges that families like mine that are faced in this country. >> the jimmy stewart and mr. smith goes to washington. a honest show, a genuine person stripped of all the hypocrisy of politics just standing up and
looking folks in the eye and saying, here is the truth. that came through. i think that's why you have touched a nerve. i hope--there is a question in all of nice things that i'm saying about you. are you going to spread the passion across the country? i hope you are. >> that's exactly why i'm here in seattle today. i'll be giving an address at the university of washington this evening and then going out to chicago tomorrow. i'm out on the road and continue to speak for the book and continue to promote that. this fall i have somewhere 40 speaking engagements around colleges across the country i continue to talk about this issue and why it's so important in american politics. >> eliot: please do. as well you've been involved in what is actually going on right now with the texas drive with respect to boy scouts. tell us what that is, how that began, and what the response from the boy scouts has been.
>> yes april 17th, a lesbian mother in ohio was forced to resign her position as a den mother due to the boy scouts of america longstanding position of discriminateing against gay leaders in this position. she thought it was wrong and went to a platform for organizing campaigns from the ground up and began this petition to ask for her reinstatement, and for the boy scouts to change their policy that discriminate against gay and lesbian parents who want to be involved in the organization. this was the petition that started just over a month ago and swelled to 285,000 signatures, including thousands of petitions from, both current and former scouts and scout leaders. i was in orlando florida delivering this petition to the boy scout leadership, encouraging them to change their
position. in their response they stated they have no plans to change their policy any time soon. there is no doubt that that is a position they'll maintain until they actually change their policy. but we've had internal discussion with folks who are on the inside working to advance change in policy and we're all very hopeful about the future of this issue. >> eliot: i think it's fair to say that the boy scouts will face almost inevitably the same pressures that virtually every other organization in our society is facing, the pressure to change is almost insurmountable. it's generational, and i think folks over 60 may be hesitant about some of these issues. folks under 30 unanimously support same sex rights. so it will move in the right direction, and won't they need to change at some point? >> that's right. definitely. you know, the drum beat of history towards more freedom, more liberty is very clear.
there is no doubt in my mind that within a decade at the very most probably sooner we're going to see a change in this policy and it's important. at the end of the day boy scouts of america is one of this country's great cultural institutions. for over a further it has been part of this country's moral bedrock. as an eagle scout it's important for me to see this policy change because currently it is alien alienating literally hundreds of thousands of people who may be interested in the boy scouts and participate but they don't want to be involved in an organization that continues to engage in this type of discrimination. personally, i'm not willing to withdraw my support even because of this policy even though it effects my family in a personal way. but i certainly understand those who choose to do is that. >> eliot: i share your hope but
quickly you had a chance to meet the president recently. >> yeah. >> eliot: obviously that's an exciting moment for anybody, any citizen in this country, what was your response to him? how do you feel about what he has said about same-sex marriage and has he gone far enough from your perspective? >> you know, it was a great moment for me living in iowa, seeing him speak a couple of times but never actually get to go talk with him. it's a very special moment for me knowing that there is a man who is sitting in the oval office who publicly supports my family and it's right to exist is a huge step. i know there are folks who are caught up in that decision however, i told this to him. i was less concerned about the politicalpolitical could couldpolitical calculus but that he had the courage to say it. i think he's going further than some people might expect. when he decided last year at the
end of the administration support for the defense of marriage act this was one of the biggest developments in the struggle of the lbgt rights. that was borne out by this decision or the first circuit u.s. court of appeals to go ahead and strike down some of those parts, and it's going to be appealed at the supreme court, but it's a pretty major development, and no doubt that his opposition has been a part of that. >> eliot: there is no question that the president has taken a monumental step forward. the passion and the collective thinking of the nation on these rights. i as a lawyer, and maybe this is an unfair critique, i wish he would have said that yes, it's a constitutional issue that should be dealt with at the national level and not just deferring to the states. but all in due course. >> i equally. >> eliot: author of "my two moms: lesson of love and strength and what makes a family." thank you for what you